Ban ‘is hurting rhinos’

2018-11-19 15:45
Eswatini’s Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Moses Vilakati with the conservationists Ted and Elizabeth Reilly at the LTRS’ inaugural conference at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, in Eswatini on Saturday. PHOTO: NOKUTHULA NTULI

Eswatini’s Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Moses Vilakati with the conservationists Ted and Elizabeth Reilly at the LTRS’ inaugural conference at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, in Eswatini on Saturday. PHOTO: NOKUTHULA NTULI (Nokuthula Ntuli)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The ban on the trade of rhino horns has not only failed to eradicate poaching, but made the illegal market more lucrative for criminals at the expense of this endangered species.

This is the argument made by the founders and supporters of the Legal Trade for Rhino Survival (LRTS) — an alliance of conservationists and scientists dedicated to reversing the ban on the international trade in rhino horn.

The organisation hosted its inaugural conference at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) on Saturday, where the country’s government and most of the stakeholders from around the world expressed their full support for its effort.

They said the 41-year ban had been ineffective and the rhino population was rapidly decreasing as more than 1 000 rhinos were poached in the southern African region annually.

Eswatini Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Moses Vila­kati, who read the speech on behalf of Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini, said the aim of the 1977 ban by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) was to ensure that international trade in species of wild animals and plants did not threaten their survival.

Vilakati said the lifting of the ban on legal trade of Eswatini’s rhino horns could lead to the eradication of poverty in impoverished communities that co-exist with rhinos. He said the costs of protecting rhinos were rapidly escalating so some of the funding could be invested back into initiatives geared towards keeping poachers away from these precious animals.

“We have seen many ‘doubting Thomases’ who continue to call for non-lifting of the ban on rhino horn trade, yet they have dismally failed to conserve the rhino ...”

Ted Reilly, an internationally-acclaimed conservationist and chief executive of Eswatini’s wildlife authority, Big Game Parks, described lifting the ban as “a common sense approach to rhino survival”.

He said rhino horns could be harvested painlessly and on an ongoing basis without having to kill the animal because it grew back.

“In contrast, a poached rhino has to die to yield its horn. The average horn weighs approximately four kilograms giving it an illegal value of $240 000 and this makes a dead rhino far more valuable than a live rhino. That’s how nonsensical the ban on horn trade is,” said Reilly.

He shared Vilakati’s sentiments that the costs, financially and otherwise, of protecting rhinos were becoming too high and that was causing some custodians to disinvest in them.

“A friend of mine who was a rhino custodian was shot through the liver and very nearly died for protecting rhinos. Another friend was gang raped by criminals while defending orphaned rhinos.

“How can we sensibly continue with this madness of knowingly giving criminals the monopoly in their illegal trade, when it is visibly driving rhinos towards extinction?” he asked.

Sabelo Mdlalose, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s popular ranger who is based in Hluhluwe, at the LTRS’ inaugural conference at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary in Eswatini on Saturday. 


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  rhino poaching
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.